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April 09, 2024

CHD Wins in Los Angeles ‘Smart City’ Public Records Case, Gaining Access to Thousands of Withheld Documents Regarding Rollout of Artificial Intelligence

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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – On April 2, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) won its “Smart City” lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, receiving access to thousands of withheld records regarding the rollout of advanced video camera technologies that use artificial intelligence with sophisticated surveillance capabilities. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ordered the City of Los Angeles (LA) to produce emails, contracts, and accounting records pertaining to the planned rollout.

The court order also recognized “residents’ right to navigate the City without digital ID” along with a host of key privacy rights, such as the city’s promise that “The apps, websites, and portals that we provide to the public will never be instruments for unauthorized spying or surveillance activities.”

CHD, along with two LA residents, sued the city of Los Angeles in July 2023 for failure to respond to the organization’s requests for documents related to LA’s Smart Cities Initiative over concerns that the technologies to be implemented may violate the rights of individuals residing in or visiting the area. Most of the city’s 20 departments involved in smart city planning provided the documents CHD requested with the exception of the Information Technology Agency, Bureau of Street Lighting, LA World Airports, Mayor’s Office, and the LA Police Department, entities likely to have sensitive information regarding the smart city rollout.

“CHD is excited to be at the forefront of safeguarding children’s rights in this new era of digitalization, smart cities and wireless technology,” said Miriam Eckenfels-Garcia, director of CHD’s EMR & Wireless Program.

LA launched its SmartLA 2028 initiative in 2020, promising to solve a host of “urban challenges” — from racial injustice to natural disasters to climate change — using smart technologies to create “a highly digital and connected city” by 2028, the same year LA will host the Summer Olympics. The City plans to provide tourists with a “digital Olympic experience,” according to the SmartLA 2028 strategy document. The plan includes an array of digital infrastructure, including surveillance cameras and microphone networks for law enforcement and corporate data mining.

Based on his review of the court documents, Greg Glaser, lead attorney for the petitioners, reported after the trial, “The term ‘smart city’ is only a marketing ploy to conceal what is really happening behind closed doors: for-profit conversion of Los Angeles into a ‘surveillance city’ in advance of the 2028 Olympic Games.” Glaser added, “Angelenos have the right to be informed of the rollout and invasive repercussions of these technologies.”

The respondents have 120 days to produce the withheld documents.


Children’s Health Defense® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable and establish safeguards to prevent future harm. We fight corruption, mass surveillance and censorship that put profits before people as well as advocate for worldwide rights to health freedom and bodily autonomy.

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